Post Match Quotes | ATL vs LAG

  • Match: Atlanta United vs LA Galaxy
  • Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium
  • Date: August 3, 2019
  • Final Score: ATL vs LA (RECAP | HIGHLIGHTS)

Atlanta United Head Coach Frank de Boer

On focused performance:

“It was really good. I just told them if we keep up this level, this standard, then I think it’s very hard for any team to beat us. The only problem that we can have is that we may give ourselves a problem, that we can’t keep that concentration or that focus. Today we were focused and you see what we’re capable of. It was really nice to see. In the first twenty minutes there were some transition moments, after twenty minutes, we had more of the control and created the 2-0. I’m really proud of the team how they performed today. Ninety minutes concentrated. This system costs you a lot of energy, but mentally, to be focused every moment because a lot of times it’s one against one but if you see the flow in training and the team is doing fantastic. Miles (Robinson) and Franco (Escobar) every time, focused every time, very sharp in drills, and winning those drills. Was really nice to see them from the bench, to see them focused as a team.”

On counters and getting forward quickly:

“Against Galaxy, there is a lot of possibility in transition and we did and we have to play those balls forward as quick as possible because we have like Pity (Martinez) and Josef (Martinez), especially Pity between the lines of course and Barco (Ezequiel Barco) a little bit higher up so we could find those guys. What was also very positive for me was Miles (Robinson) played today, especially with the ball also, he had some good provoking, dribbling in, and then passing to the free men in between lines and he did it fantastic. We already said it many times with him, look to those balls, and today he found those spaces and was really nice to see. Everybody is developing so for me it was a whole team performance.”

On home success carrying over to road games:

“We have to understand; this is a standard. If you want to keep this up, it costs a lot of energy, mentally, so on Tuesday we have to do the same. If we don’t do it or if somebody is not doing his role, then we can be punished. We have to try to look for other things. If we keep the concentration again and the identity, I think it’s difficult to beat us.”

On starting Ezequiel Barco and Pity Martinez simultaneously:

“They have special qualities in them. It shows. The combination of Barco (Ezequiel Barco) and Pity (Pity Martinez) and Josef (Josef Martinez) up front, that’s very nice, I think for every man and woman who loves football. That’s always very nice to see and to watch them. I was also enjoying them. Again, we also sometimes don’t have the ball and they did a great job today. This is what I expect from everybody and today they showed it so hopefully we can enjoy more in the future.”

On Pity Martinez’s progress:

“He can keep up. The concentration and also the quality is rising right now and you see when he makes his action, you see more power behind it and I think also more confidence, the confidence will also grow. You see how easily he can keep up ninety minutes concentrated and also chasing the ball in the ninetieth minute to defenders. This is what everybody was waiting for and I think still he can do better but I think I am already very happy with his performance today and I think this is a major step that he made again forward. It’s good for him, especially, but also for us as Atlanta United. I’m very happy for him that he is progressing like this and the most important thing is still to come so hopefully he can have a great tribute for that.”

On tonight's substitutes:

"Well Tito (Villalba) for me, was only to get his motivation up to rejoin the team. Maybe he can make some minutes, it depends on how he's doing tomorrow at training. He's getting close. It's more for the rotation, for Tuesday. That's why I also, a little over one hour I changed (Darlington) Nagbe. (Ezequiel) Barco I had to change for precaution reasons, because he didn't play that long and if he wants to start on Tuesday you cannot expect him to play 90 minutes."

On if criticism from the players has fueled the team:

"Sometimes some of those things happen that can have a great influence. I think maybe you're right, but I also think for example that we had an injury, a very unfortunate injury with Brek Shea. So we thought, 'okay yeah the best is with three in the back right now." With three quite good and fast defenders. The puzzle looks like, hey this could work, if everybody feels happy with it. In the beginning, we played the same a little bit, but they had the feeling that it was with five defenders. Then I said, 'When you play dominant, you play with three.' That's how you see it and now everybody thinks we play with three, but normally if you let the ball on the left side of us then Jules (Gressel) also is playing as a fullback at that moment. We want to attack and press as high as possible. It's just the mindset is different now and everything, like you said, somethings helps that to just get over that wall and then suddenly you're a little bit more free."

On if this feels like a first place team:

"I think we are capable and have the quality to be on top, in first. I think with the quality that we have on our roster, we have to compete for first place. There's no doubt about it. I'm glad that right now we are, and of course that's the way after a couple of hours. But still, this is what we want. This is our goal, to be on top when the season ends. We want to be on top. We want to be the hunted. 

Atlanta United forward Josef Martinez

On if the team had the right attacking mentality tonight:

“At home we always play offensive. The problem is that we need to improve how we play on the road. We can’t have a team that plays this way at home, like we have the last two or three games at home. We have to have the mentality to also do it away. We won, which is the important thing. Now we have to think about Tuesday, which is a semifinal for us.”

What this game does mentally for the team heading into Tuesday’s Open Cup semifinal:

“Nothing. The Cup is one thing and the regular season is another. Obviously, when you play a semifinal one has to play with a knife between your teeth. Now we’ll go home and enjoy tonight’s win and tomorrow we’ll think about Orlando, which is the important thing.”

On why the team mentality changes on the road:

“I think it’s personal. Every person has to show what they do. Beyond the group, we’re the ones who play. We’re on the field and we’re the ones who win or lose. So it’s a little more personal than a group thing, because in the second half against LAFC we practically had it. I had three chances but I missed them. To go from losing 4-1 to make it 4-3 in their house, which almost never happens, that means it’s mental but it’s us. This win makes us a little more calm and now we can think about Orlando.”

On having Pity and Barco in the lineup and how it helps him:

“It’s not the first time that I’ve played with Pity and Barco. The truth is I’m happy with whoever gives me the ball. If you play and give me the ball then I’ll be happy with you. I think they are two very important players for us. Two players who you don’t have to talk about because we know the quality that they have. Pity is finding his form and mentality on the field and that’s what he wants and we’re very happy with what he does. And with Barco’s return, the same thing. After being out a long time, it’s important that they are back and we have to enjoy them on the field because they make a difference.”

His thoughts on tying two records (consecutive games with a goal, most goals in a three year span):

“The important thing for me is to win. The records are just numbers. I said that the last time you guys asked me about that. They’re just goals. Obviously they are important, but I would change everything for another title. That’s what makes me excited and feeling good. Obviously when a forward scores, he’s happy. And more if we win. Because if I would have scored a goal today and we would have lost, there’s no way I would be talking to you guys.”

On the warm reception he got in Orlando and if he’s excited to play there:

“When you go home, you always get a reception like that. That’s why they love me so much.”

Atlanta United FC defender Miles Robinson 

On defending Uriel Antuna:

“He was their center forward and I was the lone center back in the back three, so I knew I was going to be following him around and staying with him the whole game.”

On getting involved in the attack tonight:

“The coaches have been continuing to tell me to take the space when I have it and try to find passes, and that is what I did today.”

On limiting the Galaxy’s attack:

“I think we played well as a team. We pressed and got on top of them from the first minute, and once we were able to calm down on the ball, they did not have as many chances.”

On the flow of the game:

“In general, I thought we played well. I noticed, coming in after the first half, I felt like the team definitely had some confidence, and we showed that in the second half as well.”

On getting more offensive opportunities:

“I think we are a great team on the counter, and when we are able to find players like Pity (Martinez) and (Ezequiel) Barco in the open field, it just gives space out wide to Julian (Gressel) and Justin (Meram) to leave the goals for Josef (Martinez) in the middle.”

On preparing for the U.S. Open Cup Semifinal:

“Definitely getting treatment. Get the legs right and get the mind right for Tuesday. It is a short turnaround, but we are definitely ready and excited for this semifinal, so it should be good.”

Atlanta United FC midfielder Justin Meram

On his play versus LA Galaxy:

 “I think anytime you’re at home you have to get three points. Today we started, first ten, fifteen minutes, a little slow and then we started to create a lot of chances and we were in a 2-0 half off two own goals but that’s a product of us being dangerous and putting in dangerous crosses.”

On the difference between home and away:

“You see our crowd and our fans and the energy they bring for us, which is amazing, so we need to figure out how can we do that on the road, how can we lift ourselves without our fans behind us. That’s something we talk about, but right now we have to take care of business in our home games and we did that tonight.”

On their offensive attack:

“Barco (Ezequiel Barco) hit the crossbar, Pity (Pity Martinez) had the post and another chance that was barely missed so you saw a very dangerous and very active, and that’s what you want out of your designated players.

On facing Orlando City on Tuesday:

 “You’re one game from hosting a final and two games from winning a cup. It’s a rivalry, semifinal, there’s going to be a lot on the line.”

On change in style following Brek Shea’s injury:

 “I think it just shows the balance of this team. We’re able to play multiple formations. Obviously, you never want to see your teammate go down, [2:06] so it’s difficult to see that side of it but we fell into this formation and you see the result, especially without conceding and that’s always a positive.”

On supposed drama within the team recently:

 “Every team in this sport is going to have little moments. This team has shown over the years that they can play at a high level regardless of the noise, and I think sometimes it brings you closer together, sometimes it might light a flame under the group, there. Are some different reactions in every situation. I think for us we just want to win games. I’ve been here a couple months and I sense that with the group.”

On taking up the wing back position:

“I was a goalie’s toe away from getting one tonight. For me I just try to be active and more so learn on the defensive side of things. A couple moments can always happen, I didn’t always know where to go so I’m still learning how to play the position. Overall, I thought I was dangerous creating chances for my teammates and that’s my job. I’ve got to help on both ends of the field and I had a good showing of that. Playing with Barco (Ezequiel Barco) with his strengths and his abilities was helpful and Barco his creativeness kind of draws players to him which kind of freed me up in some moments. Wherever they put me my role and learn, head down, work hard, and try to make a difference.”

Atlanta United FC midfielder Jeff Larentowicz

On today’s win: 

"I thought it was important for us to bounce back after last week. The Galaxy are always a difficult team with a lot of talent. Today we caught them without a few important players. That didn’t matter. I think we wanted to go out and push the tempo. I thought we did that for 90 minutes and we deserved to win in the end."

On not capitalizing on scoring opportunities:

"As long as you’re creating chances, that’s a good thing. It’s definitely bizarre to score off of two own goals in one game. I think it shows that we’re getting in behind and to the end line. (Ezequiel) Barco hit the cross bar and Pity (Martinez) had a few chances. It’s about creating the chances and a 3-0 win is a good win."

On struggling on the road:

“Playing at home in front of 72,000 people is always pretty encouraging. I think that more than anything we have to change that we’re going out to win our road games. It’s something we did in 2018 with a lot of success. It’s something that we need to do in 2019. I think it’s six in a row we haven’t won away from home. If we want to secure a top spot and have home playoff games, we have to win road games."

 On the mentality going in to the next match:

“I think it’s important especially with a quick turnaround. We travel the day after tomorrow. We go to Orlando and it’s always a difficult place. It’s a tough team and a semifinal. We’ll host the final as well possibly so it’s a huge incentive to go in there and put together a good performance. Tonight’s game will hopefully create a bounce for us.”

Atlanta United goalkeeper Brad Guzan

On the overall performance tonight:

“I thought it was good in terms of our ability to get into the attacking third, be in dangerous areas and ultimately put the ball in dangerous spots and good things happen. Fortunately a couple of own goals on their side and Josef sealed it with a penalty. On top of that we created some good chances as well, it was a performance to build on.”

On playing aggressive:

“Since Day 1 we have talked about wanting to be an aggressive team, I still think on the defensive side we need to be better with the ball, including myself, be more secure in our defensive third and the middle of the pitch, I thought at times there were turnovers that led to half-chances or allowed them to have the ball in dangerous spots. We will look over all of it, the good and the bad stuff, and try to get better, we know Tuesday is a massive game.”

On the difference between home and away games:

“I think in any sport when you are on the road it adds a different twist, a different element to the game, it’s up to us a group of players, as a team it is up to us to find a way to be united in a way to tune out the outside noise and find a way to grind out the result. It’s never easy when you are on the road, the travel, the hotel, all that stuff. Not that that’s an excuse, it is just a way of trying to make sure when we step on the pitch we are trying to get a good result.

On Miles Robinson’s game tonight:

“I said to him afterwards I thought that was one of his better games. The thing with Miles is we all know how athletic he is, how good he is, I thought tonight he played with confidence, he stepped into the middle of the pitch when they allowed him to find the passing lanes to then get the ball to Pity or Josef or Barco, I thought that part was excellent and on top of that his mentality was really good tonight for 90 minutes… If teams are going to give him the space and time to step into the middle of the pitch he’s gotta be confident to step in and do it and make those passes and start the attack for us. Tonight he did that and for him it is a performance he can look back on, be proud of, and build on and really use this game as a stepping stone.”

On team’s mentality being in 1st place in the East:

“Forget the standings. We got X amount of games left, it doesn’t matter where you’re at now, I don’t think anyone in this locker room is looking at the standings and saying “Yay we’re in first place” it means nothing. We are looking at it like a game-by-game performance and how do we get better so in 2-3 months, come playoffs we are on an upward trend. We want to be playing well, feeling good. It’s not about first place, talk to me come the end of November that’s when we want to be first place.”

On the team’s improvement:

“I thought our movement was good in the attacking third, I thought our ability to find open players in dangerous spots and put the ball in dangerous areas was very good tonight. And ultimately the own goals, some will say “Oh that’s lucky for Atlanta” this and that but that is down to hard work and being in the right spot at the right time, good delivery for the crosses, that is down to us and us creating our own luck and we need more of that.”

How tonight’s when gets the team ready for Tuesday vs Orlando:

“You want to go into that game Tuesday with a bit of confidence and I think tonight does that. Whenever you win and whenever you are able to score multiple goals in a game that gives us confidence, especially knowing how big Tuesday is.”

LA Galaxy head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto

His thoughts after this loss:

“I think the first half was even. I think nobody had an advantage over the other team. But we made two own goals and gave them the possibility to be more relaxed and have a little more of the ball, but the game was very even. In the second half we couldn’t manage the ball and try to score to do something in the game. I think the last 45 minutes, I’m not very happy with the team.”

On what he wants to see from the attacking players in games without Zlatan Ibrahimović:

“I think when the game was tied in the beginning, we had two or three very clear possibilities. Without Ibra, we lose a lot. But we know it can happen during the year when Ibra cannot play like today and we need to figure it out. Today we couldn’t. I think the first half we competed very good but in the second half we couldn’t manage the ball and to get close to Atlanta.”

On how they can manage the game better, similar to the Portland game:

“It looked like after one goal for the other team, we go down. We need to figure that out because it’s a long year. We need points to make the playoffs. We need to work for that. I know, the same thing happened today as seven days ago in Portland and we need to work to deal with it.”

On the parity in MLS:

“It’s a very even league. I think today the game was very even until Atlanta’s first goal. The first half was even. After in the second half we could never manage the ball and after the VAR penalty the game is over. I think beyond what we saw in the second half, I think we must focus on that a team can score on us and we can still turn around the result.”

LA Galaxy midfielder Perry Kitchen

On if he thinks the team rolled over after the first goal:

“I don’t think so, I think we were still certainly pushing. Obviously, a second own goal comes, which is difficult to deal with on the road. It’s a tough game to take. Credit to them, they had great spacing. They are very good on the surface. But it was a tough game. Not really much else to say.”

On how frustrating the loss is:

“Again, it is frustrating with how things have gone the past couple weeks, but it is part of it. We have to respond. I think we tried to put our best foot forward, obviously with the circumstances. Two own goals is certainly tough to take in a place like this.”

On finding other attacking options without Zlatan Ibrahimović:

“It comes through training. We have tried to work on it. Obviously, Zlatan [Ibrahimović] is a big key to that, he accounts for a lot of our goals. We certainly have the capability for guys to step up and fill that void and that is what we need to focus on.”

On responding to two tough losses:

“We have to certainly improve over the course of this long week. Go back to the film room, see what we can build off of. We certainly have the quality, we just have to get back to winning ways and put this all back together.”

LA Galaxy midfielder Jonathan dos Santos

On feeling he’s leaving the game with:

“The taste in my mouth is difficult to explain. We’ve lost two games in a row losing by more than two goals. It’s frustrating. Sometimes it reminds you of the ghosts from last season. There’s still a lot of games but we’re the Galaxy, we have to give more, starting with me as the captain in this game, but we have to correct a lot of things, small details, little things that they teach you when you’re a kid. Basic things that you sometimes don’t do and those cost you games. I think we started the game well. We had some chances. They did also. But in the end, the little details, like not pressing all together, players like Josef, Barco, Pity, in dangerous spaces can determine the game and that’s what happened and now it’s time to turn the page.”

On the difficulty of playing without Zlatan:

“It’s always difficult playing without him. We know that in any moment he can impact a game. We were also missing Polenta, another important player for the team. And yes, obviously, Zlatan is Zlatan.”

On the team’s ups and downs and his thoughts:

“I don’t know. I don’t even know how to explain it to tell you the truth. We’ve been like this all season, and I don’t know what to say. It’s difficult moments and I don’t like this situation at all. But like I said we have to keep fighting, we have a long season ahead and the good thing is we are still at the top of the table and we have to think positive.”

On whether it would be a failure if the LA Galaxy doesn’t reach the final:

“Of course. It would be a failure if we don’t make it to the Playoffs. I think we have to recover from these two games. These last two games were losses that really stung, we are the LA Galaxy and we can’t show this image. I don’t like to lose, I don’t like it at all and in the end, I will talk to the team. We have to be positive. We are on this together, and we know what we want. We have to put the Galaxy at the top.”